Leeds City Council has announced that their planned clean air zone (CAZ) has been “suspended for the foreseeable future”, with a review earmarked for the autumn.

Officials said that improvements in air quality during the pandemic could mean government support and funding is withdrawn.

Chris Ashley, the RHA’s head of policy on the environment and regulation, said: “I am pleased that Leeds City Council appears to be taking on board the points we’re making.

“As we emerge from lockdown into an economic and employment crisis unlike any other in 75 years, the government must follow Leeds City Council’s example by pausing and reviewing clean air zone policy across England. Forcing local authorities to deliver economically damaging plans for clean air zones that were devised in a different world is not appropriate.

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“Like everyone else we hear reports that air quality substantially improved during the pandemic, and that travel patterns are changing.

“When NOx pollution levels from lorries have fallen by around 60% since 2013 the government must now understand the causes of the improved air quality and reset their policy approach.

"We want clean air but ‘green recovery’ ambitions must be sustainable and driven by sensible policies that nurture economic growth," he added.